Archive | Greg Whitaker’s diary





Automechanika Birmingham will be the home to more than 550 high calibre businesses over the course of three days, from the 7th to the 9th June 2016. As an important part of the visitor experience, the organisers have arranged a series of informative seminars that will examine a wide range of important issues facing both the aftermarket and supply chain.

The aftermarket focussed seminars will be presented by prominent figures and organisations from within the industry and will provide insight, explore the challenges and reveal the opportunities effecting the future of the aftermarket.

The seminars will be presented across three theatres, the Keynote Theatre sponsored by Morris Lubricants, the Aftermarket Theatre sponsored by Aftermarket magazine and the Technical Theatre, with Workshops for the Aftermarket organised by autotechnician magazine and sponsored by TecRMI. The programme of events begins at 10:30 and runs to 16:15 on Tuesday, 10:00 to 16:15 on Wednesday and on Thursday from 10:00 to 13:50: for full details of the entire programme, please visit the Automechanika Birmingham website.

  • Among the aftermarket specific presentations is ‘The workshop of the future: how data is shaping servicing and diagnostics’ by Max Lienard, Autodata, on Tuesday 7th at 11:00.
  • Ian Gillgrass is also giving a presentation on Tuesday on ‘The rise of autonomous technology; what it means for the automotive industry’ at 14:20.
  • The final aftermarket focussed seminar of the Tuesday is Adam Bernstein’s ‘The impact of regulations on business’ at 15:40.
  • On Wednesday, Wendy Williamson of the IAAF, will be giving a seminar at 10:30 on the ‘Challenges facing the automotive aftermarket’.
  • The DVSA will be presenting the latest developments in their seminar of ‘Modernisation of MOT training’ at 11:15.
  • ‘Safeguarding your business: dispute resolution and key updates on consumer legislation’ will be given at 13:40 by Mark Hallam of Motor Codes.
  • There will also be a selection of seminars focussing on the effect technology will have in the aftermarket. First on Wednesday, is HELLA’s Neil Hilton presenting ‘Overcoming the challenges of ADAS’ at 11:20. There will then be a seminar on ‘The impact of technology in the retail sector’ given by Professor Jim Saker at 13:00. Finally in this section will be Prashant Chopra, Autogem, at 15:40 on the subject of ‘TPMS, a tidal wave of challenge and opportunity’.
  • The first aftermarket based seminar on the closing day, Thursday 9th, will be given by Steve Scofield, IMI, at 10:00 on ‘The changing world for Vehicle Testing Stations – MOT requirements demystified’.
  • Also at 10:00, Shaun Greasley of TecAlliance will give a seminar on ‘Supporting the independent’.
  • The penultimate seminar concentrating solely on the aftermarket is ‘Vehicle systems integration’ presented by Paul Grosvenor, MAHLE, at 10:40.

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CO287-16 mini 2Two thieves who stole classic Minis to break for parts have been jailed.

Stephen Fiddimore and Sam Metten have been found guilty of stealing the cars, breaking them and hiding the parts across a number of lock-up garages. Spares were then offered for sale on websites including eBay.

A Met Police investigation into a spate of thefts of Minis led officers to a lock-up in Horton Kirby, Kent. Further investigations saw police raid two more garages and a unit on a farm where the remains of a number of vehicles were recovered. Police believe the pair stole 40 cars between August 2014 and May 2015.

In addition, two vehicles seized from the criminal’s home addresses were found to be stolen and cloned. The pair recived sentances of three and a half years and three years respectively, following a trial at Inner London Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Caroline Clooney, of the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit, said: “These men systematically targeted the owners of classic Minis across the south east. Many of the vehicles had been lovingly restored and were the owners’ pride and joy. Discovering that their cars had been stolen obviously caused them much distress and inconvenience”.

“I am pleased with the sentences handed down and hope it sends out a message that the Met is serious about tackling car crime and will always seek to destroy the activities of individuals involved in it.”

The classic car community has reported a spate of thefts of post-war classics in recent months. Apart from Minis, modern classics including rear-drive Escorts, Capris and Peugeot 205s have also been targeted.


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Total Lubricants has renewed its strategic partnership agreement with vehicle manufacturer Kia.

For the next five years, Total will remain the Korean VM’s preferred aftermarket lube supplier for its vehicles. Total branded oils will continue to be available in Kia dealerships in 180 countries, which includes the UK.

Kia and Total will also develop joint marketing service programs aimed at increasing Kia dealers’ profitability, customer retention and customer satisfaction.


The deal was signed between Steven Yoon, Vice President, Overseas Service Division at Kia Motors Corp. (left) and Pierre Duhot, General Manager, Automotive Division at Total

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eBay Car challenge

Here’s an interesting press release from eBay:


Any car enthusiast that has a restoration project sat in their garage or workshop is invited to enter the eBay Car Challenge.  Hopeful projects can range from a surprising barn find that’s gathering dust, to a prized family heirloom needing funds to get it back to its former glory.


The three projects will be chosen by eBay on 3 April 2016, with each restoration receiving £4,000 in funding to spend on over 270,000 live listings of car and motorbike parts and accessories available on The restorers will then have until 3 July 2016 to complete their project.


“eBay is the first destination for any car restoration project. The eBay Car Challenge will bring to life the wide selection of car parts and accessories that can only be found in one place, that’s eBay. And in turn will showcase the passion and love of amateur mechanics from across the country,” says Murray Lambell director of retail car parts & accessories, eBay.

To get involved in the eBay Car Challenge, simply email a photo of the car in its current condition with 500 words outlining the restoration project including history of the vehicle and the work that needs


For more information on how to get involved visit: ebay-car-carchallenge.

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Join Holts’ Panel and get free samples

UK aftermarket manufacturer, Holts, is seeking mechanics and garage owners to join its ‘Professional Panel’ initiative.
In return, members of the  Panel receive a bundle of Holts products plus it’s sister brands – Redex, Prestone and Simoniz. Additional branded workwear alongside being the first to test new products completes the package.
Holts is keen to hear from mechanics and garage owners. Interested applicants are invited to visit and complete the form or call the Holts PR team on 0161 839 1986.

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Brexit means ‘catastrophic’ crash for UK industry

A UK-based manufacturing company believes that exiting the EU would cause a ‘catastrophic crash in UK manufacturing’s competitiveness’

Writing in the upcoming March issue of CAT, Toby Massey, MD at BM Catalysts says: “Brexit is a divisive issue and from an economic perspective, an increadibly short sighted one”

He notes that 50 percent of his company’s turnover is generated from export, so the corporate stance is ‘naturally pro EU’.

However, his strongest words are reserved for the subject of migrant workers. He writes, “It’s naive to assume that closing the boarders to migrants would facilitate an abundance of home grown labour. In fact, what would happen would be a catastrophic crash in UK manufacturing’s competitiveness. Cost of production for UK manufacturers would likely sky rocket and manufacturers across the channel would be given an obvious advantage. This could easily lead to many manufacturing businesses, especially SMEs, going under altogether.”


Read the full article in the March issue of CAT, published tomorrow.


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AC service supporting data

WhoCanFixMyCar Heatwave special – supporting data

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Announcement from Klarius: Catalytic converter supply

Announcement from Klarius: Catalytic converter supply

Klarius-logo-blackAs a result of discovering some administrative anomalies we have immediately suspended all production and deliveries of Type Approved converters while we implement the appropriate corrective actions.

Having closely reviewed our production and disassembled some of our stock we are disappointed to report we have discovered anomalies where we have incorporated the wrong monolith into manufactured parts.

Please note the monoliths incorrectly incorporated are fully functioning and correctly loaded with the appropriate metals. The error has been an internal issue.

Immediately on discovering this we have entered into discussions with the relevant authorities to seek a solution.

We apologise unreservedly to our customers and the independent aftermarket as a whole for this error.

We will communicate individually with you as over the next 48 hours as more information and solutions become available, and we thank you for your support and understanding through this short period.

Klarius is recognised in the market as a premium product which has the lowest quality returns rate in the market. We have not benefited financially or commercially from this error and the distributors and end users have not knowingly been supplied the wrong component. As a long standing campaigner for more stringent application of Type Approval we are keen to implement corrective actions as soon as possible.

Please note that our exhaust, DPF, CAT front pipe, and our non-approved Catalytic Converter supply remains absolutely unaffected.

It is hoped we can implement all corrective actions over the Seasons holiday period. We will of course keep you fully updated.

Immediately on discovering this we have entered into discussions with the relevant authorities to seek a solution.

Details of the type approval requirements and the consequences for non-conformity can be found by CLICKING HERE .

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Clarification on catalytic converter homologation

Clarification on catalytic converter homologation

36317carFollowing recent developments surrounding the homologation of catalytic converters produced by a UK-based manufacturer, four emissions-based manufacturers have issued the following joint press release to clarify a number of key points.

Homologation independently as a direct fit manufacturer

Manufacturers of direct fit catalytic converters are able to obtain approvals for their own parts using their own R&D and choice of approval houses at significant costs. This process means that the manufacturer has complete ownership of the certificates. The homologation number allocated is unique to that manufacturer and can only be used by that producer. It is not possible to transfer those numbers to other part numbers/manufacturers without an application to the issuing body. The manufacturer is the owner of the certificate.

Homologation through extensions

Manufacturers who own their own approvals (as per point 1) are able to extend these certificates for additional brands for a small fee. The extension is made by the owner of the certificate applying to the issuing body for the additional brand to be added to the approval. Once accepted by the issuing body, a new homologation number and certificate is created and the certificate owner is able to manufacture and supply the applicable references noted on the documentation. The brand name does not have any control or ownership of the certificates.

Production Requirements

In both types of homologation, the requirement is on the owner of the certificate to use the correct raw materials and production methods to ensure performance is in accordance with the original tests conducted to achieve the certification.

If under an extension a manufacturer has only supplied a universal cat, allowing a brand to finish production, then the brand can only use these parts for the approval number to be valid. The brand cannot produce parts bearing the approval number using universal cats not supplied by the certificate owner.  If a brand does manufacture without the correct universal cat then the parts would, in effect, have no approval.

If a certificate is withdrawn, no further products can be produced and parts in the market may be subject to a restriction of sale depending on the reason for withdrawal.

Consequences for Non Conformity in the UK

The supply of non-approved catalysts (for vehicles first registered on or after 1/3/01), or catalysts without a valid homologation number, is currently up to £5,000 per offence.

Links to Legislations

We, the undersigned, all agree with the above statement and operate within the above framework

BM Catalysts, EuroFlo, European Exhausts & Catalysts and TP Cats

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The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has hailed the new SERMI (Security related Repair and Maintenance Information) scheme as a ‘significant step towards having a level playing field for accessing security manufacturer information;’ calling it a ‘victory’ for its membership.

The SERMI scheme means that independent garages are another step closer towards accessing Manufacturer Security Information. It has been set up to develop, operate and maintain a process which forms a part of the ISO standard for repair information. The scheme sets out the rules and requirements for independent operators who can demonstrate the necessary integrity to be granted access to security related info.

RMI Standards and Certification says it is positioned to be the first organisation in Europe to accredit against this standard, which will keep the UK independent sector competitive and ensure that consumers and fleet operators do not have to make any compromises when choosing an independent garage for service and repair.

Stuart James, IGA Director, who has long been fighting for the rights of independent garages to access manufacturer technical information, called SERMI a huge step forward for the IGA and its members. “The ability to access manufacturer security information takes us ever closer to the ‘level playing field’ promised by EU legislation, and I am delighted that there has been a giant leap towards achieving it,” he said.

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